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Can SMRs scale fast enough to reach climate goals? | Podcast

The nuclear renaissance is underway, but can technology deliver the efficiencies needed?

1 minute read

Nuclear power is back in the spotlight. Energy security concerns coupled with economic uncertainty have influenced a shift in global attitudes to the energy source. Policy and investment in nuclear are accelerating as the existing fleet of reactors ages. By 2050, at least 10% of the current nuclear fleet will retire, prompting the need to look to new and innovative technologies to replace them.  

As ever, cost efficiencies will drive adoption. The levelized cost of electricity for conventional nuclear is over three times the cost of wind and solar per MWh. New, advanced reactor technologies are needed to lower costs. Small Modular Reactors are one of these. As global innovation in nuclear evolves, these reactors could deliver energy at less than $80 a MWh. Investment in SMRs is focused on the US, Canada and Europe. 

On the Interchange today, David Banmiller is joined by a panel of industry guests to identify the paths to safe, reliable nuclear power. Dr. Kathryn Huff is Assistant Secretary at the Office of Nuclear Energy, at the US Department of Energy. She explains the decisions that have influenced the shift in government policy towards nuclear in recent months and outlines the plans for investment in new projects. The Natrium reactor, from TerraPower, is benefiting from a slice of the $2 billion in funding from the DOE. Jeff Navin is the Director of External Affairs at TerraPower, and he also joins us on the show.  

The renaissance in nuclear power is driven by a multitude of factors but shifts in attitudes and the change in policy since the start of the Ukraine war has played a significant part. Maria Korsnick is the President and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute. She joins the podcast to explain how the next generation of nuclear reactors will help power the energy transition. David Brown is the Director of the Energy Transition Service at Wood Mackenzie. He completes the panel on the show today to forecast the future of nuclear around the world. Where is investment needed, and where is it coming from? Policy needs to start rewarding nuclear for what if offers in low-carbon dispatchable power. What technologies are enabling efficient nuclear power to slot into the grid?  

Follow us on Twitter – we’re @interchangeshow. Do get in touch with thoughts, queries or topics you’d like us to cover. 

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